CEOs and employees. BFFs?

They might well be soon enough. A new wave of tools, speaking about one in particular – Workplace, rank executive announcements into the same bucket as customer service reps and project managers alike. There’s no discernment into importance of the author, just how popular the post is perceived. So messages that ask no question, or invite no response get pushed down feeds into low readership oblivion instead of shining at the top.

As communicators, it presents us with both challenges and opportunities. And the gravity of either depends a lot on the willingness to change from the management team. Gone are the days of messages ending in ‘Carry on workforce, your leader has spoken’. We now need to nurture conversation and collaboration – “Give us your thoughts” or “How would you do it?” being the most elementary step forwards.

This marks a wider cultural change too. People are far less accepting of hierarchy, and the communications we have at our disposal these days flatten them completely. Angry at your energy provider? Well call them out on Twitter, a forum where you can have a one on one conversation with a multi-billion pound company in a very public space.

You can see this change represented in politics too, with the isolationistic mass revolt against mainstream governance. So teaching our leaders how to speak to their employees as peers is increasingly a required competency. For leaders, nowadays and in the near future, being seen to be able to speak to colleagues business-wide on first name terms is just as important as being able to chair the AGM with the shareholder. Welcome to the new wave of affable business.